Literature for Week 16: Alabama

Some of the best known novels in history are written by Alabama authors and are most of the time also set in Alabama. Even people who haven’t read the books are familiar with the stories: each and everyone was the basis for an award-winning movie.

Some of the most famous are:

Fannie Flag – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (1987)
Read preview here: amazon.
Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a now-classic novel about two women: Evelyn, who’s in the sad slump of middle age, and gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode, who’s telling her life story. Her tale includes two more women—the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth—who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, offering good coffee, southern barbecue, and all kinds of love and laughter—even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present will never be quite the same again.

Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
Read preview here: amazon.
Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred
One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

Daniel Wallace – Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions (1998)
Read preview here: amazon.
In his prime, Edward Bloom was an extraordinary man. He could outrun anybody. He never missed a day of school. He saved lives and tamed giants. Animals loved him, people loved him, women loved him. He knew more jokes than any man alive. At least that’s what he told his son, William. But now Edward Bloom is dying, and William wants desperately to know the truth about his elusive father, this indefatigable teller of tall tales before it’s too late. So, using the few facts he knows, William re-creates Edward’s life in a series of legends and myths, hilarious and wrenching, tender and outrageous, through which he begins to understand his father’s great feats, and his great failings.

Winston Groom – Forrest Gump (1986)
Read preview here: amazon.
Six foot six, 242 pounds, and possessed of a scant IQ of 70, Forrest Gump is the lovable, surprisingly savvy hero of this classic comic tale. His early life may seem inauspicious, but when the University of Alabama’s football team drafts Forrest and makes him a star, it sets him on an unbelievable path that will transform him from Vietnam hero to world-class Ping-Pong player, from wrestler to entrepreneur. With a voice all his own, Forrest is telling all in a madcap romp through three decades of American history.


sources and starting point for more research:
The Essentials: 25 books by Alabama authors that should be on your list on alabamaliving.com

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